Interstate 70 Modernization Projects To Move Highway Into 21st Century

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge

Belle Vernon/ Speers Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  This road was a death-trap when I was living in the Mon Valley back in the 1970’s.  Glad it only took 40 years for PennDot to realize it!

A grassy mound in the backyard of Melvin “Bucky” Walkush’s childhood home is the only visible reminder of the popular carhop restaurant that served the best pizza he’s ever tasted.

It was the 1950s. Elvis topped the charts. Ike was in the White House. The Ford Thunderbird was one of the hottest cars around.

And the New 71 Barbeque along old state Route 71 in North Belle Vernon, owned by Walkush’s brother Joe and his wife, Adeline, was the place to stop for anyone using the highway linking Greensburg and Washington, Pa.

The restaurant is gone now, and the stretch of Route 71 that Walkush, 84, remembers was decommissioned in the 1960s to become part of Interstate 70 between New Stanton and Washington.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/5870537-74/washington-walkush-highway#ixzz32BzJh8u9
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Enhanced by Zemanta

Work On Civic Arena Site To Begin In August

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Construction of streets at the former Civic Arena site, now a sprawling parking lot in the heart of Pittsburgh, will begin in August, officials said on Thursday.

It will be the first significant activity on the 28-acre site since crews completed demolition of the arena about two years ago. More than $500 million in redevelopment is planned.

“We’re almost ready to start construction of the urban street grid,” said Mary Conturo, executive director of the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority.

The first phase is expected to cost $9 million and focus on building interior streets on the eastern part of the site, Conturo said. The work is expected to take about a year.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/5924203-74/conturo-site-million#ixzz2ybAziPaI
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

Enhanced by Zemanta

Sidewalks Necessary To Grow Transit, Improve Walkability In Lehigh Valley, Study Says

wm-license-information-description-missing wm-...

wm-license-information-description-missing wm-license-information-description-missing-request LANTA logo.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Installing sidewalks and crosswalks along Hamilton Boulevard near Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township would encourage more people to use transit in the area.

It would also make the area, which was the site of a fatal pedestrian crash in 2012, safer and more attractive to walkers, according to a Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority study.

The area is one of five highlighted in the study, which outlines how land development in the Lehigh Valley can help promote transit use in the region.

The authority wants to grow ridership, and most municipal officials are committed to improving walkability in their communities, so LANTA has been spreading the message about how best to accomplish both goals, planning director Owen O’Neil said.

Read more:  http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/01/lanta_study_sidewalks_necessar.html

Enhanced by Zemanta

West Bradford SPCA Land Sale Raises Objections

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Chester County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Accusations of high euthanasia rates and lack of management aren’t the only issues officials at the Chester County SPCA are facing these days.

The organization and especially board president Conrad Muhly are hearing the sharp sounds of criticism amid accusations of wrongdoing over a land deal that detractors say was fishy from the start.

Today, in the second installment of a two-part series, the Daily Local News looks into allegations that the nonprofit is acting improperly in selling land it received from the state of Pennsylvania in West Bradford to a developer who has ties to Muhly and, thus, the CCSPCA.  On Sunday, the Daily Local published complaints from former volunteers about practices at the shelter in West Goshen.

The shelter currently holds 20 acres of land that abut the 220-acre Embreeville State Hospital parcel that was purchased by Embreeville Redevelopment, LP.  The group currently has controversial plans of building more than 1,000 new homes and commercial development on that land.

Read more: http://www.dailylocal.com/general-news/20130915/west-bradford-spca-land-sale-raises-objections

Camden Waterfront Eyed For World Trade Center

The development firm that hoped to build a World Trade Center in Philadelphia is now looking at erecting it on the former prison site on Camden‘s waterfront.

In a statement, Waterfront Renaissance Associates (WRA) said Monday it in talks with state and local officials to determine the feasibility for developing the site.

WRA is the developer of the residential towers directly across the river, just north of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia.  That site was once considered for the Greater Philadelphia World Trade Center, which was established in 2002.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130910_Camden_waterfront_eyed_for_World_Trade_Center.html#v7Dy7dOP6PTAzPWf.99

Sanatoga Interchange Development Potential Explored

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Lower Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LOWER POTTSGROVE TOWNSHIP — As the housing and construction market begins to pick-up steam again, township leaders are turning their eyes toward the development potential of land near the Route 422 Sanatoga interchange.

Thursday night, consultant Peter Simone outlined those for the township commissioners options contained in the master plan for the region now under consideration.

Much of the development at that locale is on the Limerick Township side of the road — namely the Philadelphia Outlets and the Costco.

But the two townships have been planning together for further development in that area for several years now, Simone said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130825/NEWS01/130829544/sanatoga-interchange-development-potential-explored#full_story

Expanding Suburbia: Route 39 In West Hanover Township Primed To Grow Over Next Several Years

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to miss the signs pointing to Route 39‘s future north of Hershey in West Hanover Township.

Some of them are quite large and aligned toward the road.

While the names are all different — High Associates, Brownstone, Landmark Commercial Reality, among them — the message is pretty standard: “Available.”

In West Hanover Township, Route 39, also known as Hershey Road, is open for business.

What used to be rural farmland and rolling green hills is once again quickly becoming dotted with new developments and “For Sale” signs as two lines of force converge along Route 39.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/expanding_suburbia_route_39_in.html#incart_river_default

Votes Push Development Along Pottstown’s Keystone Boulevard

Editor’s note:  We find ourselves in agreement with the majority on council who voted for this undertaking.  We also feel the tax breaks for Heritage Coach Co. were necessary.  Having that property sit idle accomplishes nothing and provides no income for the borough or the school district.  It also provides no employment which means there is less money to be spent on existing Pottstown businesses.  Until the word gets out to the investment community that Pottstown is open for business and that establishing a business in Pottstown is a good idea, incentives will need to be used to attract development.  

Cleaning up Pottstown would go along way towards fostering development.  Nobody wants to open a business in a crime-ridden community.  Unfortunately, that is the perception you are dealing with, whether it’s entirely true or not.  Perception IS reality.  Cracking down on crime, Section 8 housing and the pervasive drug problem need to be priority one in order to attract business, industry and homeowners.   The number of rental units is too high, partly due to reputation of the Pottstown School District, the reputation of Pottstown Borough and the high taxes.  Any real estate professional will tell you the same thing.  Selling a home in Pottstown is difficult.

POTTSTOWN — Prospects for development along Keystone Boulevard have been bolstered by two votes of borough council Monday evening.

With a unanimous vote, the council approved a “memorandum of understanding” with West Pottsgrove that pledges both municipalities to pursue efforts to extend Keystone Boulevard, which runs parallel to West High Street and the Schuylkill River, into West Pottsgrove to connect with Grosstown Road.

“It’s a conceptual agreement for defining a path to move forward,” Borough Solicitor Charles D. Garner Jr. explained to council.

The extension of Keystone Boulevard through the former Flagg Brass property in West Pottsgrove and over to the Stowe interchange has long been envisioned and was the subject of an $81,000 study by the Rettew Associates engineering firm.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130613/NEWS01/130619600/votes-push-development-along-pottstown-s-keystone-blvd-#full_story

Building Boom Resumes In Towamencin Township

Location of Towamencin Township in Montgomery ...

Location of Towamencin Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the curved pedestrian bridge Towamencin Township built over the crossroads village of Kulpsville, you can see the next suburban boomtown rising.

It’s taken long enough, says Robert Nicoletti, 82, who bought ground there in 1958.

From the bridge, against a backdrop of the behind-schedule Pennsylvania Turnpike widening at the nearby Lansdale exit, you can watch crews build the four-story Bridgeview apartment complex, which will start renting next month; the thick concrete core of a six-story Courtyard by Marriott hotel, due in the fall;, and the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College, which will enroll its first students in the spring.  Farther north stands ball-bearing maker SKF Corp.’s U.S. headquarters, certified “platinum” by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The apartments, hotel, cooking school, and corporate headquarters all are the work of Nicoletti’s Philadelphia Suburban Development Corp., better known in the city as a major landlord of parole and welfare offices and other state agencies, as well as a South Philly site proposed by Penn National Corp. for a casino.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20130311_Building_boom_resumes_in_Towamencin.html#ixzz2NF5kBdso
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

Allentown’s American Parkway Bridge Groundbreaking

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) i...

The PPL Building (seen here in the distance) is the tallest building in Allentown, Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At first glance, Friday’s groundbreaking for the American Parkway Bridge looked pretty much like every other ceremony where shivering, dark-suited community leaders poke their gold-painted shovels into some carefully piled dirt.

But this time, behind all the pomp and pageantry were more than five decades of planning, fighting, waiting and frustration.

It was 1956 when excited city leaders first proposed a direct path between downtown Allentown and Route 22, and Friday those shovel-wielding leaders celebrated the beginning of construction of a $46 million American Parkway Bridge project they say represents both the struggles of the past and the promise of the future.

It will span the Lehigh River just north of the Tilghman Street bridge and south of the Route 22 bridge.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-american-parkway-bridge-20121214,0,3965525.story

Midtown Harrisburg Becoming Arts And Cultural District: Susquehanna Art Museum Moving To Midtown

Streetscape of 1400 block of 2nd street in Har...

Image via Wikipedia

A vacant property is set to become the new home of the Susquehanna Art Museum in Midtown Harrisburg.  Midtown is a neighborhood in transition.  If you recall my 3rd in the Burg post, I touched on Harrisburg’s emerging arts and cultural scene.  This neighborhood has become a focal point of urban renewal and revitalization by making itself a “destination” that is attracting people to Harrisburg.

Millions of dollars are being poured into Midtown redevelopment.  Creative business owners like Midtown Scholar Bookstore, Midtown Cinema, Midtown Harrisburg Arts Center and a growing list of restaurants and cafés are also leading the way.  The addition of the Susquehanna Art Museum will strengthen the fledgling district and attract more business to the area.  Having events like 3rd in the Burg already in place will only accelerate revitalization efforts.

Another huge addition to Midtown will be the new federal courthouse that will break ground in 2013.  The $130 million building will bring an influx of workers into the neighborhood that have disposable income to spend on things like food and arts/culture, along with other businesses that will sprout up as the result of all this development.  The site of the new federal courthouse is now a parking lot.

GreenWorks Development has been busy spending redevelopment dollars in Midtown.  They own a large amount of property in the neighborhood, including the new museum site.  In addition to the $50 million they have spent thus far, they plan to spend another $75 million on future projects.  Harrisburg Area Community College and Fulton Bank have already benefited from GreenWorks’ projects.  A four-story Campus Green building, costing $14.3 million, is another project that has benefited Midtown.  GreenWorks is also involved with residential development by creating affordable and market-priced housing in Midtown, which will be critical for Midtown’s continued redevelopment.

Midtown Development has also been a player in this neighborhood’s revitalization efforts by renovating blighted properties.

Local business owners and residents are optimistic.  Most see a bright future for Midtown.  There are always some skeptics and detractors, but the majority of residents see these changes as taking their neighborhood in the right direction.  There is still a long road ahead and things take time, but tangible progress is being made to revitalize Midtown Harrisburg and make it “the place to be” in Pennsylvania’s capital city.